Deborah the van we are converting into a campervan

Mission: To Convert a Van Into a Campervan

Those of you that have followed us in recent months or just have got to know the type of people we are will likely be accustomed to thoughts like “what? again!”, “I would love to do that” or maybe “will these two just give it up already!” Well I’m sorry to say, us two are at it again. We’ve been back in the UK for a whole 3 and a half months and I’ve already come up with a plan to get us on the road again, literally.

convert a van into a campervan

There has always been an idea in the back of our minds that we might live as gypsies. Taking to the tarmac and putting our lives on 4 wheels, wherever we wanted to go. We lived as Digital Nomads in Thailand for 5 months in 2014/15 and realised we can work almost anywhere as long as there is power and an internet connection. This life isn’t for everyone and when we got back to the UK, all we wanted to do is settle for a while, rent a place, put all of our stuff in it and chill for a bit. Not chasing fast upload speeds for our Youtube videos, a place to cook the amazing food we had tried along the way and get back to our fitness routines. Unfortunately the market in the UK is tough and with the difficulties of being self employed, finding a place to call home has been less straightforward than imagined. Of course we could always go back to our beloved Chiang Mai, to our apartment block with pool and bustling life all around us, or our home from home, BedStation in Bangkok but I came up with a different idea. Being abroad, we realised that there was so much to explore on our doorstep and there was no reason to not do it. Well other than transportation and power and internet. Thankfully we both have unlimited internet packages from Three so all that was left in the way was the other two, so we came up with a solution to it all, and it has a name.

Deborah the van we are converting into a campervan

This is Deborah, or Debbie, or Debs for short. Elizabeth named her. She is a 2004 Vauxhall Vivaro panel van that I am converting into a camper van. No, it’s not a VW, they were out of our budget. But she’s got potential. While we’ll cover the actual conversion and decoration on our lifestyle blogs AverageChap and Rosalilium respectively, we’re looking forward to bringing you all of our adventures with Deborah over the next few months. We are still going to keep searching for our perfect place to live and put all of our stuff in it but for the moment, we are more than happy to return to our nomadic lifestyle and learn how to make it part of our lifestyle in the long run.

We recently announced that we are going to Visit Every County in the UK and we thought that doing it in campervan will make it easier and more fun. Not to mention a touch cheaper. We’ve followed some others enjoying the Campervan lifestyle and have learned a lot. We’ll pick up a Bell Tent in the near future too and Raj being an ex-scout leader can’t wait to do a type of camping he hasn’t done before and get back to exploring the Great British back garden again.

We met a couple at the immigration office in Chiang Mai who drove up in a hightop black Mercedes Vito camper, they had driven from the Netherlands over the previous 6 months and had loved it. They were in the late 50’s and were such an inspiration that we have decided to start our own journey.

There are some UK trips and some European trips on the way as well as some “right on your doorstep trips”. We’re hoping to take Deborah to Blogstock (15% discount with that link) this year where I (Raj) will hold a 1-to-1 Blogger Accounting workshops on the soon to built sofa area and Elizabeth will also be holding a session on passive incomes.

I hope that by becoming part of the camper van community we can bring to you the adventure of living life on the road and everything it entails, good and bad, so that you can either do it yourself or feel like you’re with us along the way.

  1. My boyfriend and I have been wanting to do the same thing to allow us to travel more freely (and cheaply!) around the UK. I hope to see how it turns out :-)

  2. Hmm, I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to go for a 2004 vintage van. It must have been in very good condition I’m thinking – or you are very good at car mecahnics. But then not everyone has the £40k budget for a new VW camper van (I certainly don’t). Wild camping in a van is actually harder than you think. So many places such as car parks and laybys have “no overnight parking” signs up. It is sometimes possible to stealth camp though – make sure you have some decent curtains for those windows. This is where the traditional white van works – excellent stealth capabilities. I have a friend who lives in his white van for three months of the year in UK while on the road as a contract driver. He spends the rest of the year in the Philippines – who says all white van men are stupid? ;) He has great stealth capabilities though as it’s a plain white van – no windows. There are always camp sites, but the pitch fees do add up. You can pay typically £20 a night with EHU. So you can be paying £140 a week easily just for pitches. That’s £560 a month – more than some shared house accomodation – you can get decent shared house accomodation for £400 a month if you shop around. Still, even at £20 a night that is cheap compared to a B&B that charges £50 to £70 a night. Good luck with your adventures!

    1. Hey Tony. Yes the van is a bit old and no I’m not a great mechanic! I can get by though! The cost of “off the production line” campers is way way over our budget, plus I’ve been wanting a project for a while. The good thing about the Vivaro is that it is a fairly simple engine and it is the most popular van in the UK so there are plenty of spares and is cheapish to fix. I needed something I could enjoy driving as well. An old VW is a terrible drive even with a new engine in it. I needed something that was a “car-like” as possible which I get with the Vivaro.
      I’ve had a think about the issues with wild camping and it certainly was a factor when deciding on the van. Any VW almost shouts campervan but something like ours is just a regular white crew cab van. With the correct type of curtains up, no one would really know. When I install the exterior power inlet, it might give us away but stealth camping should be do-able.

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